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High school swimmer, swim coach honored

Ryan Sheridan

After one of the strongest years for the boys swim team, the Moffat County High School coach and one of the senior swimmers were given top honors for the season.

Jim Vorhies was named co-Coach of the Year for 2002, and senior Randy Runyan was named Swimmer of the Year for 2002 in the Western Slope High School Swim League.

For Vorhies, this is the second consecutive year he has won a share of this recognition, again winning co-honors with Durango swim coach John Lawson.

“This is a really nice thing,” Vorhies said. “It’s a great honor. We had a heck of a season and have our best showing ever for state.”

The MCHS boys swim team won five of its seven meets this year, after winning one meet and three meets the previous two years, respectively. The team placed fourth in the district competition, and from the 2002 campaign, 10 of 14 swimmers qualified for state competition. Qualifiers included three relay teams, three individual swimmers and two divers.

The Swimmer of the Year Award recognizes an athlete’s performance in the pool, in the classroom and in the community. To be eligible for this award, a swimmer needs a minimum GPA of 3.75, a strong season and participation in various activities and community projects. Coaches nominate swimmers and write a letter of recommendation for the nominee.

Runyan easily met all of these qualifications, Vorhies said.

“Randy is a wonderful young man, and he won hands down,” he said. “When Randy was awarded Swimmer of the Year, I read his letter of recommendation as a speech, and it took me ten minutes with all that Randy does. He’s involved with drama, plays the trumpet, is in choir Randy’s in a whole slew of things. He had a very impressive resume.”

Vorhies said the MCHS team had two other candidates seniors Parker Moore and Jeff Olree

who also came close to earning the award, but Runyan had an exceptional year.

Being a strong candidate for the Swimmer of the Year award was a goal of Runyan’s one of several goals he accomplished in his senior season, Runyan said.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Runyan said. “I’ve been swimming for four years and after seeing the previous winners, I set out to be a contender for Swimmer of the Year for my senior year. The only goal I didn’t meet was qualifying for state as an individual, but I did make it on one of the relays, so I’m pretty happy

with that.

“This is the best year I’ve seen for (boys swimming), with us taking fourth place at districts. It was a good year for us, and a great thing that coach Vorhies won Coach of the Year. Jim really deserved it.”

Runyan will be attending the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley next year, but won’t be swimming UNC does not have a men’s swimming team. Runyan will be studying music education.

Vorhies said he hopes for another strong season next year, even with the loss of three senior swimmers.

“We’re losing three valuable seniors who are quality swimmers they’re not going to be easy to replace,” he said. “We’re losing team leadership and their points, but our five freshman swimmers all qualified for state. I’ve also heard rumors of a slew of incoming freshman that are strong swimmers.

“We’ll still have a good program. We’re still growing and we’re headed in the right direction.”


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